Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cravings Don't Mean You're Hungry

I’m sure I am not the only one to have ever taken their stress, anxiety, or depression out on a nice big bowl of ice cream or potato chips. Hey, when you hurt, you need comfort – right? Unfortunately, sometimes we forget why we have certain cravings and tend to go on auto-pilot when it comes to self-medicating with food.

There are two basic thoughts about why we ‘crave’ certain foods: One is that our body is lacking in specific nutrients, the other is that we have triggers that activate our cravings such as habit, or emotional events.

Whatever the cause, cravings are important to pay attention to and address.

So what can you do to stop stuffing down your feelings with food? Well, there is the usual “fight the feeling” theory that holds some merit. But, just fighting the urge can be tough. However, I discovered that the brain can misinterpret the body’s need for water as a craving for food. Weird, huh?

Try this, when you feel a craving, drink a full glass of water. Then “fight the feeling” and wait 15 minutes. Chances are, as it was with me, the craving will pass. If it doesn’t, then allow yourself to give into the craving without over-indulging.

Remember: Craving is NOT the same as hunger! 

If you haven’t had a meal in a few hours, your body is actually HUNGRY – So, eat! Strive to consistently eat healthy meals and snacks to avoid going more than four hours without eating. This will keep your blood sugar from dropping so low that you feel out of control.

So, to clarify; A craving occurs when you’ve eaten or are contentedly full, but still feel something is missing or that you need a bit of ‘something’ more. Ever crave something sweet or salty after a meal? It’s like that...

Using a food diary to keep track of what you eat, when you eat, and how you’re feeling (especially if you tend to binge on snacks and sweets), can really help. There are plenty of digital versions that you can find online or in the app store of your cell-phone or tablet computer. Using a log will help you identify what your body may be lacking in nutrient and thus address this need before you become a gorging eat-it-all-monster.

But probably the most significant thing to come away with from this post is this: sometimes cravings come from somewhere deeper. Sometimes the “something” that is lacking in your life is –connection. Try a visit with a good friend or family member. Reconnect with your pet, your church, yourself… Sometimes, when your body signals a food craving, what it needs is attention from you. Pay attention to your body. It survives on more than just food.

As always – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program. 

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